Tuesday, May 26, 2015

OK, One More. Toni Harper -Round Midnight


Marty Paich, conductor and arranger

So great.

TONI-HARPER-IN-JAPAN 1963 with The Cannonball Adderley Sextet - One Note Samba



With the Oscar Peterson Trio - You Don't Know What Love Is



Update:   With the Marty Paich's orchestra. Arranged by Marty Paich -
Lady Lonely


I recently read that she retired from performing when she was 29.   Amazing singer, she pretty much had it all.  No idea why she'd choose to stop.  Glad we've got her recordings.  Wish this one had less echo but still great, pretty great arrangement, too.

"Too Long"

Maintaining a double standard of judgement really means, you get to be held to a standard of behavior, we don't.    Double standards are what aristocracies, oligarchies, dictatorships, slave societies, patriarchal societies, etc. practice.  Double standards are the opposite of a liberal position.  Equal responsibilities, equal treatment are among the defining practices of liberalism, to the extent those are not practiced, to that extent the people violating that are pseudo-liberals.

The Supreme Court building has a lie carved over the entrance:


Imagine what society, economics and politics would have been like if they'd enforced it.   Equality, that is.  It would be a liberal society.   I have to say, I think the Roman fasces over the "D" is a dead giveaway.

POV

You say "'brain trust" I see brains trussed.

The Hypocrisy Over Sex Scandals Is Massive And Not Confined To Any One Group

The question of which sex scandals get taken up as the focus of a general online hate fest is ripe with potential to show us something more about various online communities*.

The current one  is focused on a pretty unattractive guy raised in a pretty awful milieu of the "Quiverfull" patriarchal cult and promoted by cabloid TV as some kind of beacon of virtue.   Of course I'm talking about the accusations made against Josh Duggar that when he was 14 years old, a child, or at least a young teenager,  he fondled five girls, at least some of them his younger sisters, sexually.

I will interject here that I'd never heard the name Josh Duggar before last week, I never saw the now cancelled TLC cabloid show promoting his parents and their ginormous family of 19 children and their right-wing, anti-LGBT, would-be "Christian" cult and their right wing politics.

Though I was somewhat aware of the Duggars from noticing what was already being said about them online.  I am not predisposed to think well of them, apparently they pretty much are everything I'm engaged in struggling against.

That doesn't mean they are not due to be judged by the same standard used to judge the behavior of someone I like and agree with, something which would seem to be rejected in online discourse and in the general culture of, at least, my country.   Pretty much the entire culture has been cabloidized, the practices of FOX "news" generalized.

The various details as to the scandal of this as-seen-on-TV paragon-of-virtue's teenage sin, the handling of it by his parents, the timing of his father dropping a dime on him, his encounter with the police due to that, the "counselling" venue he was brought to as "treatment" are all over the internet just now, all of them an occasion for postures of outrage and anger and group hatin' on and, as could be predicted, since it is a politically charged, culturally stereotypable (if that's a word) made for cabloid TV scenario, also his defenders.

I will, also, note that there have been reasonable people who are discussing this pointing out such things as the focus being on Josh Duggar, his father, to a lesser extent his mother, the policeman who interviewed him and the "counselling" he got while the girls he fondled are seen as an afterthought.   Which is certainly a valid point but which, I contend, is also symptomatic of what the nature of this current sex scandal mania is and it isn't about what's wrong with young girls being groped by a 14 year old boy.   Josh Duggar in this discussion is a stand in for other and larger group identities, resentments  and hatreds on one side and as the opposite of those for another side.  A lot of the online babble over this has insisted that you have to be in one or the other side of this when no one has to be. And I would say no one should be.

That can be seen by comparing other accusations and documented pedophile sex scandals which have not resonated in the same way.

The first of those which came to mind the first time I realized this was going to be, as they say, "a thing" was, of course, the ongoing revelations of massive, organized pedophile rape in Britain, the documented police and government cover up of that and the massive evidence of that being released on an ongoing basis.  I am certain that the reason that massive scandal has failed to take much of a hold on the attention spans of those online is that it is largely secular figures involved with a minor tie-in with religious figures.  Which would seem to be the major attraction the issue has for the online babblers.

Famous people and rich people, the reason for the British governments covering it up, because they're "people like us", entertainment figures, businessmen, etc.  none of them from the American South, none of them members of an odd political-religious, patriarchal cult, though some of them on the lower brow venues of pop entertainment.  But the sheer size of that pedophile scandal, the evidenced, documented certainty of it, the horror of the abuse which includes imprisonment, sadistic torture, the group rape of very young children, the deaths of children abused, shows that the relatively little attention it has been given in the online outrage machine is not really concerned with the victims of such crimes but the identities of those who raped, tortured and murdered them.  And it's hardly confined to Britain.  I don't recall this story of a massive international pedophilia operation involving the rape of hundreds of children being busted getting as many pixels as the Josh Duggar story.  Or, for that matter, Lena Denham's publicity confession, only that one was concentrated on by the right, the pseudo-left's outrage being confined to the outrage of the right making hay on it.

The second venue of child rape that came to mind is, of course, the abundant evidence available to view at will of child rape by the porn industry, much of it incest themed, presented as fathers, uncles, grandfathers and, yes, brothers, raping smaller, younger relatives.  If even 5% of those presented as such are actually being raped by their male relations are actually as presented, online porn, available with a google search, is certainly as worthy of  being discussed than the crimes of Josh Duggar. The size of the pedophile porn industry and the related trafficking, marketing and destruction of children by the sex industry dwarfs  even the British pedophile and universally discussed Catholic priestly pedophile sex scandals, yet it is entirely ignored in the discussion, never to my knowledge the focus of the outrage fixed on the sins of a young teenager.   I would go so far as to say that, today, the porn and even the prostitution industries are held to be sacrosanct by the inverted morality peddled by, first the "free speech" industry and, as they realized they could game it to damage the right of people to accurate information and, so, effective self-government, the right wing of the Supreme Court and others on their ideological side.  That such "free speech" includes massive advertising in porn to encourage pedophile rape is certainly relevant to this discussion, though a forbidden topic.   So, naturally, I will commit that thought crime.

Also ignored are the accusations made by his half-sister and nephew, that a man who I used to admire and agreed with on many things, Gore Vidal, was an active pedophile who had sex with rent-boys, one of whom he is accused of beating up along with Stephen Spender.  And it was an ongoing thing for decades, apparently.

And he (Vidal's nephew) added, pointedly: ‘Gore spent a lot of time in Bangkok, after all.’ 

The Thai capital is infamous for child prostitution and Gore would visit every year. Friends say he had sex there with young male prostitutes.

Mr Steers said Gore appeared to condone child abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests: ‘He would say that the young guys involved were hustlers who were sending signals.’

He added that when Vidal’s half-brother, Jamie Auchinloss, was caught with child pornography, ‘Gore would not condemn him’.

In the Seventies, Vidal even spoke out in support of paedophiles who formed a notorious group set up to campaign for legalised sex between adults and children called NAMBLA, the North-American Man/Boy Love Association.

That last one is something which is fully documented,  I heard a recording of his speech on that occasion and it was covered in the Boston media, back when they actually did reporting.  I seem to recall that he made a joke in response to a question that he didn't know of anyone who would want to kill Anita Bryant other than music lovers.   Which I thought was, actually, funny, at the time.

And, interjecting, again, the Thai sex industry is a decades long and massive example of the international hypocrisy on this issue, one with clear racist overtones as the children raped in their sex-tourism industry are considered to not matter.  It is an industry which extends around the world in its promotion and enablement but which is relatively little discussed and seldom the focus of the kind or outrage that is being focused on what one 14 year old boy did.  If Vidal was in the habit if visiting Thailand as often as that, given his public statements, the suspicion that it was for sex tourism is a reasonable one.

Still there was no trial, no evidence presented to be tested.   The blackmail file which his arch enemy William F. Buckely is believed to have kept on him, though it was not revealed or examined for veracity.   Christopher Buckley has admitted to have destroyed a file his father kept on Vidal, I don't believe he's ever said what was in it.  What is known is that Gore Vidal certainly supported organized pedophilia before it became a hot-button issue as did many others who misidentified as liberal when they were merely libertarians.**

Mr Steers says he ‘doesn’t know for sure’ whether his uncle had sex with underage men and doesn’t want to know - but it is clear he suspects it.

Vidal himself revealed in his memoirs that he was ‘attracted to adolescent males . . . like most men’. [Speaking for myself, let me say that Vidal speaks for himself on that one.]

One of his friends admitted he was astonished when Vidal once told him: ‘You know I’m a pederast.’

Was he being serious? Or was he once again trying to shock? 

When I brought up some of these issues in the online discussion, even though I stipulated that I certainly had no admiration for the Duggars or the "counselling" method he was "treated" by, and that I thought he had probably done what he's accused of,  I was accused of defending him because I asked why the massive and documented British sex scandal, the scandal of online porn with sadistic rape of children - with the evidence being peddled, massively online, and the rumors about Gore Vidal were all mostly or entirely ignored.   If you want to see excuses being made for someone, you can read this article from The Guardian by Mark Lawson, asking a question that, as far as I have seen, no one proposed, in effect "Must We Burn Vidal".   Of course not, unlike the sex degenerate that Simone de Beauvoir asked that question about, Vidal's likely peodophile inclinations didn't figure highly in his published work, though, as mentioned, any complete edition of his speeches would have to include it.  It does, though, need to be considered when analyzing his thinking in other areas, the misidentification of his libertarianism as liberalism and any accurate thinking about his character.  I know I didn't see him the same after hearing his speech.  But that's not my goal in raising the issue.

Most interesting about this is what it shows about the intellectual and moral nature of  online and offline culture, how the most massive crimes are routinely covered up because we like who committed those or which are focused on because we despise them.  Libertarians, as opposed to liberals, generally end up making allowances for those who they favor, whether as individuals or representatives of a class of people they favor, covering up or excusing what they do.   The acceptance and practice of that kind of double standard will end up favoring the rich, the famous and powerful, that's one of the advantages gained by joining those group.  As the British pedophile scandal proves, yet again, even a nominal democracy dominated by an aristocratic class can cover up the worst and most depraved of crimes targeting the most powerless and vulnerable people. I don't think the United States can expect to do any better than that with the nominal liberal side of things adopting that practice.   If liberals don't insist on a single standard in justice and in society,  I can guarantee you conservatives won't take up the slack, creating and maintaining double standards is one of the real life features of their ideology in practice, no matter what their pretensions are.

As to the public persona of Josh and the other Duggars, well, his father is the one who, eventually, dropped a dime on him.   I can believe that lots of parents wouldn't do that, so I can't fault the Duggars on that count.  As to how else it was handled, that would depend on whether or not the behavior or behavior like it continued.  I haven't read anywhere that it has.  But if I were a member of such a family, I would concentrate very hard on the verse in which Jesus said that if someone corrupts a child it would be better that a millstone be put around their neck and be drowned.   What he did is certainly not consistent with following the teachings of the man they claim to believe spoke with divine authority.   Maybe they need to take their profession more seriously, though the guy was 14 years old when he fondled girls.  If the girls he did that to ever want to speak for themselves and give their side of what happened, that is their choice to make.   If he can't be shown to have done anything else like that, the controversy concentrating on that,  full of wild, unevidenced accusations, stereotypes and assumptions, would be better spent focusing on the facts about other crimes done by adult men.

* When I say "online communities" I don't mean like a well ordered, rational and just polity, I mean more like a clique terrorized jr. high school or a gang bullied neighborhood.  The platitudes often asserted about the internet are as hypocritical as any and, considering the degenerated standards allowed by anonymity and the ability to assume multiple personalities for the purpose of slandering and brow beating, potentially as bad as the worst of those.   The internet has promoted the worst in us just as TV has.

**   Since a lot of those I'm hearing from on this are blog atheists, the last time I looked, even within the last few years the prominent "skeptic" and academic Vern Bullough's high status in the pedophile promotion group Paidika was still listed as among his "accomplishments".   He never to my
knowledge was denounced for it by any of his atheist colleagues or those who admire them.   James Randi's shady activities with what are believed to be underage hustlers, documented on tapes that were found admissible in a law suit, are considered untouchable when discussing him. That includes his public and documented shifting claims about the tapes, starting by claiming they were forgeries, to saying they were made as part of a sting operation he and the police set up, to, apparently, claiming he was "blackmailed" over them, all in a clear cover up of a kind that is ubiquitous in Randi's career.    Clearly who is being accused matters more to such blog babblers than what they're being accused of doing.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Of Course George Orwell Didn't Predict The Internet


Or the cabloids, though he got closer to that.

Scott Joplin - Magnetic Rag


Joshua Rifkin, piano

Joshua Rifkin, a stickler for following the composer's stated intentions got Scott Joplin pretty near right on.   This is one of my favorites.  I don't know if it's what Joplin intended or if it's just that it's his last published rag but there always seems to be a valedictory feeling to it, like it was his farewell to the world.   It was written as the horrible disease that killed him was taking hold.   It just suddenly seemed appropriate for the day.

Update:  Bethena


Walt Whitman -. Specimen Days 61. Hospital Scenes—Incidents

  
IT is Sunday afternoon, middle of summer, hot and oppressive, and very silent through the ward. I am taking care of a critical case, now lying in a half lethargy. Near where I sit is a suffering rebel, from the 8th Louisiana; his name is Irving. He has been here a long time, badly wounded, and lately had his leg amputated; it is not doing very well. Right opposite me is a sick soldier-boy, laid down with his clothes on, sleeping, looking much wasted, his pallid face on his arm. I see by the yellow trimming on his jacket that he is a cavalry boy. I step softly over and find by his card that he is named William Cone, of the 1st Maine cavalry, and his folks live in Skowhegan.    
 
 Ice Cream Treat.—One hot day toward the middle of June, I gave the inmates of Carver hospital a general ice cream treat, purchasing a large quantity, and, under convoy of the doctor or head nurse, going around personally through the wards to see to its distribution.    

  An Incident.—In one of the fights before Atlanta, a rebel soldier, of large size, evidently a young man, was mortally wounded top of the head, so that the brains partially exuded. He lived three days, lying on his back on the spot where he first dropt. He dug with his heel in the ground during that time a hole big enough to put in a couple of ordinary knapsacks. He just lay there in the open air, and with little intermission kept his heel going night and day. Some of our soldiers then moved him to a house, but he died in a few minutes.    

  Another.—After the battles at Columbia, Tennessee, where we repuls’d about a score of vehement rebel charges, they left a great many wounded on the ground, mostly within our range. Whenever any of these wounded attempted to move away by any means, generally by crawling off, our men without exception brought them down by a bullet. They let none crawl away, no matter what his condition.

Hate Mail

I don't write things for people who don't read what I write and who are obviously not used to thinking beyond the surface presented to them by the common received wisdom of their clique.  

I stopped posting their comments, even the ones I chose not to delete, when I realized they inevitably chose not to argue with anything I'd actually said.  Then I noticed how much of online chatter, just about everywhere, fit that description. The Unlightenment, the product of an "Enlightenment" that never really lived up to its PR.   They've got a lot more in common with the Duggars and Duck Dynasty than they'd ever want to believe possible.   

Update:  Apparently Eschaton has gone all hate on me all the time today or something.  Please, I don't care what people there say about me.  I don't want any more updates.   I suspect someone got turned down last night or something. 

Revealing The Atheists' Theology For What It Really Is An Alternative Religion

The evolutionary psychologists and others have turned natural selection into the magical creative force in biology and, in some hard cases such as Daniel Dennett, into a universal force to explain everything.  That is beyond dispute.  At least it is if you think out the real meaning of what they're saying to its conclusion.

Since they inevitably depend on the major modification of Darwin's major idea by gluing it to Mendelian genetics, done in the 1930s,  and with DNA being identified  in the 50s of the last century, and especially since H. D. Hamilton, E. O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins published their ideas, when they talk about "natural selection" they're really talking about DNA.  The same, when they say "evolution".

And I think it is with Hamilton and Dawkins that it's necessary to begin to talk about their turning the object, "DNA", into a creator god. as they attributed to it far vaster magical, creative potency than more careful geneticists I'm aware of ever did.   Today, when you hear or read the words "DNA" "genetics" "natural selection" or even, and most damaging of all to science, "evolution" most of the time it is to the magical creator god to which is attributed the most enormous powers of creation.   In the claims that all of our behavior is, ultimately, the creation of this deified "DNA", is literally the claim that we are made in its image, that it is the origin of our entire being.

And, as I've noted, in the hands of Daniel Dennett, its creative powers are claimed to extend far outside of mere biology but to all of nature, which is why he entitled what is certainly his most famous book,  Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.  In that title, he merely restates the claims made for Darwinism by Ernst Haeckel, who was more honest about his motives, when he said that in Darwinism was the final triumph of materialist monism. When I talk about materialist monism, I am merely using the right term for what they're talking about, without the typical slippery avoidance of it.   And in that I think lies the real motive of the entire effort of the entirely slippery and, I think quite naive and wrongheaded effort.

Think about what their apotheosized version of "DNA" is claimed to do by them and its powers rival those of the creator gods of classical paganism.  In their presentation it creates us, quite literally, it imbues us with all of our capabilities and faults, it determines our fate, it even controls our thoughts and actions.  It causes our crimes, it is the source of our virtues and even, in that line of thought, is the real and quite selfish motive that is the real explanation of our most noble acts of self-sacrifice, transforming that into a service for that, their most selfish of all gods which only cares about its own survival.   If you think that is a grotesque exaggeration, consider that the major proponent of the idea, Richard Dawkins, famously said:

“Was there to be any end to the gradual improvement in the techniques and artifices used by the replicators to ensure their own continuation in the world? There would be plenty of time for improvement. What weird engines of self-preservation would the millennia bring forth? Four thousand million years on, what was to be the fate of the ancient replicators? 

They did not die out, for they are past masters of the survival arts. But do not look for them floating loose in the sea; they gave up that cavalier freedom long ago. Now they swarm in huge colonies, safe inside gigantic lumbering robots, sealed off from the outside world, communicating with it by tortuous indirect routes, manipulating it by remote control. 

They are in you and in me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, those replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.”

― Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

What I have said, which is held to be outlandish and ridiculous is merely to restate the claims of these people,  letting the cat out of the bag, revealing what it is that they're doing.  They're inventing a fantasy version of DNA as a god* substitute, providing Haeckel's magical force, the thing that led to claims of God being dead, with a physical form.   Since their religion is a materialist one, of course their god would have to have a physical form.   As I've already mentioned before, when Dennett tried to remove the force, natural selection, from its physical form he unwittingly made it logically impossible, natural selection requiring the inheritance of discrete entities to avoid everything being turned into a chaotic and homogeneous soup,  perhaps what would happen if some of those famous finely tuned constants were slightly different and the basic physical structures that gave rise to our bodies and our putative intelligence were made impossible in the universe.   Though I think there really is no way to know all of the ramifications of such universes or even if they are an actual possibility in reality, our only knowledge of something we use that term for comes from this actual universe we inhabit and know.

What I wrote in the past few days was misidentified as a claim of a proof for the existence of God, which it wasn't.  I have never been in the business of trying to provide a proof of the existence of God, I don't think such a "proof" is available to us,  the impossibility of defining, of delimiting the meaning of the immaterial God I believe in would definitively make such a proof impossible.  You can only prove things which are defined and delimited.  To ask to prove of the God I believe in would make even less sense than a quest to prove that reality is real, since you would have to do so within the reality you are trying to prove.  The attempt of materialists to debunk the reality of consciousness in service to their material gods runs into a quite similar problem as their attempts rather convincingly demonstrate the reality of the thing they are using to enforce their will on reality.  Their effort disproves the case they are making by debunking the reality of what they are using to make their arguments.   Now THAT is something worth pointing out, which is what I have been doing.

* Dawkins is sophisticated enough, though most of his fellow neo-atheists are not, in that he realizes that the creation of one godly "DNA" is insufficient as there is on one molecule that is DNA.   But he does create the largest of all pantheons in his attribution of powers to DNA, warring gods which are engaged in competing and killing each other off, using us and our macroscopic scale to determine the winners.  Though I think even he can't turn such entities into more than limited deities in that they are dependent on the physical environment.  As I indicated their gods are henotheistic, with potency within a certain locus of influence, other gods having sway in other regions.  I've mentioned other gods of those efforts, "quantum gravity" "quantum vacuum" and, in an earlier post, what might be the current and reigning and likely all-time(s) champion creator god, "probability" with which these atheists have made, not only immaterial, enormous brains, but a stupendous number of imaginary universes, created out of nothing else.  As they really do talk about such imaginary, unevidenced things, and use them in argument - something they mock religious folk for doing I think it's only fair that we be allowed to take them as serious about it and to make logical observations about just what they're doing.  Atheists have their own theology in which they talk about such stuff, only they're touchy about admitting that's what it is.  I'm more interested in the logical consequences and the proper identification of what they're doing than in the anger caused by pointing those out. As the widespread and naive belief in such things as evolutionary psychology is a major danger to liberalism and democracy, I think it's important for a political blogger to address it.   The claims of evolutionary psychologists are used to attack everything from gender and ethnic equality to economic justice.   David Brooks and Andrew Sullivan love such things for a reason, after all.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Charles Ives - Decoration Day mvt. 2 of Holidays Symphony


San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas conductor

Back when I was growing up in the back waters of inland Maine, Memorial Day hadn't yet turned entirely into another occasion to promote the adoration of the military but was a general memorial of all those who had died.   I liked it better.
Americans have a bad habit of ruining holidays.   Ives seems to have thought so, too.

Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon - The Hidden God of Atheism

The Hidden God of Atheism

Rupert Sheldrake is one of my very favorite heretics, the best that Britain has to offer to counter the common received wisdom of Brits as old line materialist-atheist stereotypes.

I don't agree with everything he says, I think he's far too charitable to those who are merely dishonest hucksters and fundamentalists in many cases, for example, but I always appreciate his calm, reasonable manner.

The podcast linked to is one of his Science Set Free podcast dialogues with Mark Vernon.
Memorial Day 2006
for my parents

All of the dead, some in uniform, parents, old, children too young.
Holes in families, empty houses. Shadows on people. A name in rock.

A person remembers someone. A town, a life.
Countries give speeches. Speeches about speeches.
Speeches about people. Too far away to know.

And I can't tell you. You had to see them. 
In their towns. 
Both sides.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hate Mail Meatniks.



I might be worried about what such people said about what I have written if there were any evidence in their  misrepresentation of what I wrote and my motives for writing it that indicated they'd bothered to read it before they commented on what they think I wrote, but didn't.  If our minds are computers made of meat, they got stuck with a lousy CPU.

If they wanted me to worry about that they could try addressing what I actually said.  But that would require reading it and that's something like work.   Those guys make Maynard G. Krebs look like a model of intellectual curiosity and industry.   They don't even get nostalgia points for what they do.

Bill Gates Kingmaker to Richard Dawkins god Maker

First, I should explain something which has apparently caused some consternation among some atheists who believe they are paragons of scientific reasoning, more about that in a minute.   Since I have comment moderation on my blog, when a comment is posted for inclusion here a notice is sent to my e-mail with links making it possible for me to publish or reject the comment from my e-mail Inbox. Which is why I call the posts I do answering points, well that's a kind way of putting it, answering the contents of those e-mails,  "Hate Mail".   Since that appears to have bothered some of those posting hate mail to my blog, maybe that will ease their troubled minds.  Not that that's something I generally would choose to do.   Such minds could use more troubling, they don't seem to get much else in the way of a work out.

------------

One such commentator thinks it's going to bother me that Bill Gates recently revealed that he is planning on reading a book by Richard Darwkins as "summer reading".  Why he thinks that would bother me is not stated.   I could hardly care less what Bill Gates is reading at the beach this summer.  The title at The Independent apparently thinks it's noteworthy enough that he "outs himself as a comic fan" ( apparently because he reads the geek cartoons of xkcd ) that it includes that in the title.   I wonder if he read Doonesbury a number of years back when Garry Trudeau used to joke about his "minty green" complexion.  As to Gates' comments, I differ with Gates' idea of the quality of Dawkins' thinking on science, which I think is more of a symptom of the degeneration of the link between logical coherence and what people are persuaded of through writing technique.  Here's an old piece I did on that point.   I don't find some of his other work to stand up to inspection any better than that.   Asking why the summer reading of a man who is, pretty much, a business man should interest me is my response.   I'm about as interested in that as I am in what Lena Dunham's latest bid for attention is.  

Another hate mailer is bothered by my observation that to believe that natural selection, "DNA"* is the cause of our consciousness and our ideas, that those exist in their real form as physical constructs in our brains only makes sense if  DNA has, effectively, universal knowledge that allows it to understand, entirely the nature of what it is recreating in our brains, the means to do that with total accuracy and that it gets it right an astounding number of times.

But that is the the only logical conclusion that you could draw about the quite Dawkinsian concept.   How else would "DNA" do what is claimed for it?   I would like to ask chemists who have tried to synthesize or even analyze DNA if they thought they could do that without a huge amount of hard gained knowledge.  And that's just an act of replication of a known type of molecule, it's not the creation of a physical entity that is, in effect, a totally unplanned and, often, entirely unexpected external phenomenon or an internally generated inspiration in excruciating detail and subtlety.  What such sciency materialists demand of DNA is far, far more an impressive act of knowledge and technical virtuosity than anything even the most accomplished of scientists has ever done in creating such entities and fitting them with absolute precision into an existing, working, massively complex "mechanism" where they function perfectly, instantaneously.   It makes the entire collective achievements of computer science look like nothing in its relative simplicity.  And it does so hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of times a day in each and every being who has a brain.  What accounts for the clear behavior of organisms without brains, I've asked before.  Why...... why, it's downright god-like in a far more impressive way than such guys are supposed to believe can possibly exist!  

And what you can say when someone with no real answer when asked to account for our minds as material substance pulls "DNA" out of their hat would have to go for any other proposed physical origin of our minds.   All of them would have to have those same abilities which far surpass the known abilities of the entire world of science and scholarship.**  As I mentioned so controversially, their mechanism for constructing such physical entities would also have to be precognitive, clairvoyant and telepathic because they would have to know what they were creating BEFORE it existed in the brain, in the locus in which it was being created or they would never possibly get it right.  

As I mentioned in a comment, atheists are always creating god-like entities while denying that's what they've done.  Others in the henotheist pantheon of materialism is the recently popular "quantum vacuum" or "quantum gravity". The fact that Richard Dawins and other atheist polemicists have recreated the material and entirely all too humanly self-interested, "selfish" gods of pagan mythology as "DNA" is too much of an irony, too much of a revelation of the dim-wittedness of this attempt to explain away our minds to not point it out.  In the new atheism, I think, we don't see atheism, we see the creation of these unadmitted substitutes for God with these omniscient, omnipotent entities while denying that's what they're doing.  And there are lots of them.   I think that a lot of the cult figures of neo-atheism, such as Carl Sagan, can count among those with a lesser potency, though not different in kind.  And maybe you don't have to be dead to join that pan-atheon.   Perhaps Richard Dawkins is one.  He created memes out of nothing, afterall. 

*  When such people use the term "DNA" they are talking about a shallow and at times entirely superstitious entity with magical powers that the actual molecule doesn't possess.   That's the reason I'm putting it in quote.  I would suspect that easily 95% of what gets said about "DNA" is said about this imagined version of the molecule, not the actual molecule and what it actually does in association with some rather complex and not completely understood cellular chemistry.

**  Update:   When I said, "All of them would have to have those same abilities which far surpass the known abilities of the entire world of science and scholarship"  I should have noted that this is literally true BECAUSE EVERY KNOWN ASPECT OF SCIENCE AND SCHOLARSHIP WOULD HAVE HAD TO HAVE BEEN CREATED BY "DNA" OR ANY OTHER THING ORIGINATING THE PHYSICAL, MATERIALIST "MIND".   If you reject that, you would have to reject Dawkins' rather silly idea about the creator having to be "more complex" when he is trying to debunk God.   Only, since his conception of "God" is certainly of a God who has the attributes of things in a universe, the similarly physical gods assigned to create our minds would doubly have to have effective universal knowledge.

Update 2:   OK, the longer I think of this the more obvious it is that the atheist-materialist "brain-only" brain does, literally, involve that whatever model of that they present, it would, actually, have to have universal knowledge,  it not only would have to have a prescience of science and scholarship but of every aspect of all possible future knowledge.  The promissory notes of materialism, the eventually promised Theory of Everything, would already have to have their answers in such a model or, at least, the ability to construct those in our brains which, before the requisite knowledge was present in them, could hardly be held to contain that knowledge.  Or, at least, I'm throwing that in as a proposal for discussion.  Now,  my experience tells me, the atheists will be prepared to talk about my cooties or some such thing as they pretend I haven't said what I did here.   Apparently their god-like minds aren't prepared to discuss that.  The gods of atheism are false gods. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

2015 MLK Lecture with Professor James H. Cone


With war, you reap what you sow.



Corpses. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Religion vs. Science? Fr. Richard McBrien, Now on a Thursday

I am dealing with an issue, not serious, just time consuming,  and will probably not be able to post another piece until Saturday, if then.  Since I probably won't be able to post at all tomorrow,  I'll post Fr. McBrien today.   Apropos of my post yesterday and for so many people who believe they know all about the almost entirely unused, widely misunderstood and not universally accepted doctrine of papal infallibility, in contradiction to that widely spread misconception, here's a bit of a hint, though some heads might, as they say, explode. That is if they  bother reading it.  Such minds are harder to blow open than modern safes. 

From November 28, 2005

The controversy surrounding the Terri Schiavo case earlier this year surprised a number of well educated, middle-aged, and older Catholics who had always been taught, from the days of Pope Pius XII (d. 1958), that no one is required to employ extraordinary means to stay alive. 

Over the centuries, the concept of "extraordinary means" varied as medical technology evolved, but by the middle of the 20th century the term clearly applied to the use of a feeding tube to keep alive someone in a persistent vegetative state with no realistic hope of recovery.

A different type of Catholic, associated in one way or another with the pro-life movement and apparently unaware of this lengthy and consistent moral tradition, latched onto a talk given by the late Pope John Paul II to a group of visiting physicians in March, 2004. These Catholics interpreted the pope's remarks as if it were a definitive moral teaching on the Schiavo case, unequivocally favoring the continuation of life-support mechanisms.

Middle-aged and older Catholics have had a similar experience with regard to the current controversy over evolution-versus-intelligent design, the latter an updated version of creationism.

Catholics brought up and educated for the most part before Vatican II were taken aback when a prominent cardinal, Christoph Schoenborn, archbishop of Vienna and someone who had been frequently mentioned as a possible successor to John Paul II, published an op-ed column in The New York Times ("Finding Design in Nature," 7/7/05) that purported to give the "real" Catholic position on evolution. 

The problem was that the position offered by the cardinal seemed to represent a reversal of the Catholic moral tradition on the subject of evolution, and particularly the teaching of Pope Pius XII.

Even in one of his most doctrinally rigid encyclicals, Humani generis (1950), Pius XII explicitly approved of dialogue on the subject of evolution between scientists and theologians. He acknowledged the existence of scientific arguments in support of evolution, and insisted that the Church is open to them so long as there is no retreat from the Church's traditional teaching that "souls are immediately created by God" (n. 64).

The Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes (1965), also spoke approvingly of an evolutionary framework for understanding the human condition: "the human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic, evolutionary one" (n. 5).

In a 1996 address before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome, Pope John Paul II noted that the scientific case for evolution was growing stronger and that the theory was "more than a hypothesis." 

Bishop Francis DiLorenzo, chair of the Committee on Science and Human Values of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, cited the pope's remarks in assuring his brother bishops that "the Church does not need to fear the teaching of evolution as long as it is understood as a scientific account of the physical origins and development of the universe."

Catholic theologians also find the scientific arguments for evolution fully compatible with the view that God creates through evolution. They have clearly distanced themselves from creationist theories which are based on a literalist reading of Genesis.

Creationism and its updated form, intelligent design, are products of faith, not scientific evidence. Their proponents act as if the Bible, narrowly interpreted, is in the same genre as scientific data. 

It was later discovered that Cardinal Schoenborn's op-ed piece had been solicited by the Discovery Institute in Seattle, a leading advocate for the teaching of intelligent design in biology classes, and that the article was subsequently submitted to The New York Times by a Virginia public relations firm, Creative Response Concepts, which also represents the Discovery Institute.

More recently, however, another cardinal, Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, seemed to weigh in against Cardinal Schoenborn's view. He spoke at a recent news conference about "the dangers of a religion that severs its link with reason and becomes prey to fundamentalism."

Another Vatican official, Msgr. Gianfranco Basti, director of the Vatican project, Science, Theology and Ontological Quest (STOQ), reaffirmed Pope John Paul II's 1996 statement that evolution "is more than a hypothesis because there is proof."

Although Msgr. Basti agreed that the pope's statement before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences was not doctrinally definitive, neither were John Paul II's remarks on life-support mechanisms which many in the pro-life movement seized upon in the Terri Schiavo case.

In the end, as Cardinal Poupard noted, the doctrine of creation is "perfectly compatible" with evolution. 


As The Stories Appear This Morning On The Salon Most Read Column



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Robin Eubanks and EB3 - Pentacourse


I love how after he plays a solo Robin Eubanks just walks over to the keyboard and starts playing bass.

I love this group.

Here's

Blues for Jimi


Some of the most imaginative use of electronics I've heard in a long, long time.